Employability initiatives in undergraduate education and application to human nutrition: A scoping review

Emily Murray, Susan McLeod, Jessica Biesiekierski, Ashley Ng, Sharon Croxford, Emma Stirling, Andrea Bramley, Adrienne Forsyth


Human nutrition is a growing field with an increasing job market and high demand for university study, yet graduates report feeling underprepared for and unaware of potential job opportunities. This scoping review aimed to identify employment initiatives used in undergraduate programs to support an evidence-based approach to the development of future initiatives for human nutrition courses. The scoping review following PRISMA-ScR criteria was initially conducted in October 2018 and updated in April 2020. Search terms were selected to identify studies that reported on employability or work-readiness embedded within the course curriculum for undergraduate students. Fourteen papers met the eligibility criteria. Papers included were from Australia (9), United Kingdom (2), United States (1), New Zealand (1) and Germany (1). Papers described initiatives fitting broad categories of placements, project-based industry collaboration, practice-based eLearning, mentoring and building graduate attributes. Placements were the most common type of initiative and project-based industry collaboration demonstrated the highest levels of student and employer satisfaction. The success of initiatives was often attributed to incorporating diverse approaches to real-world, problem-solving skills. Mentoring and eLearning were used to promote employability soft skills, while industry-based placements provided students with practical experience. Placement in specific workplace settings should be representative of the diverse job options for nutrition graduates. Human nutrition degrees should consider incorporating strategies that develop soft skills and project-based skills while exposing students to diverse workplace settings within industry.


employability; work readiness; undergraduate; nutrition

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2020vol11no1art921


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